The website 'Colleen's World', which reveals her WoW character, orc rogue Santiaga, as well as linking her forum posts states that:
Colleen Lachowicz is a Democrat candidate for Maine State Senate. In Colleen’s online fantasy world, she gets away with crude, vicious and violent comments like the ones below. Maine needs a State Senator that lives in the real world, not in Colleen’s fantasy world.
Clearly confused by the difference between Azeroth and Earth, the website has taken issue with Ms Lachowicz's admission that, as a Rogue, she 'stabs things a lot'. Cos, you know, in every other game you just hand out flowers and teddybears. One wonders what angle they would have taken if she played a healer...
Interestingly, the comments they have dug up all seem to show that, rather than being some kind of basement dwelling weirdo with a loose grip on reality, Ms Lachowicz is friendly, helpful and eloquent, and holds views on teabaggers that many gamers would share. One shows her taking time out from all that stabbing and bloodshed to give a fellow player advice on applying for MaineCare through a hospital finance office. A few of them reference being bored at work, but since they have been dug up from postings she made back in 2009, I don't really see how they're relevant. Can anyone honestly say they've never been bored at work? Ever? Thought not.
Another reference that made me giggle, was to this statistic:
Studies have found the average WoW gamer is 28, and spends 22.7 hours a week playing in Azeroth.
This data was compiled and compared to a census of players carried out by Warcraft Realms... in 2005. Nice to know that the most up to date information is being used for political muckraking.
Another segment highlighted is a light-hearted reference to the 'socialist' nature of her guild, Wreck List - in that they help each other out and give lower level players a hand up, as well as crafting things the lowbies need, something that seems to stick in the craw of hardline Republicans.
Game related muck raking is nothing new, and the media have a tendency to jump on any news story that involves a person who may at one point in their life have picked up a game controller or played an online game, and the whole 'gaming is bad' argument is becoming more and more tired. I'm not going to go over the studies that show the many beneficial side effects of gaming - you're gamers, you know. Instead, let's take a look through a small selection of the more interesting transgressions American politicians have gotten into hot water over recently!
- Just this year, Democrat Martha Johnson, head of the General Services Administration had a little difficulty explaining how her office managed to spend a whopping $822,000 on a four day training course in Vegas, and had to resign as a result.
- Republican senator John Ensign had to forfeit his seat last year after reports of an extramarital affair with a married employee, who he ended up proposing to at a National Prayer Breakfast (presumably one that didn't feature an in-depth look at the 7th Commandment). Various shady transactions were revealed when Rick Santorum blew the whistle on his nefarious activities.
- Republican Tom DeLay found himself up on charges of money laundering in connection with the Abramov scandal, for which he was convicted in 2010.
- In 2009 Texas judge Samuel Kent spent 33 months cooling his heels in the pen (where presumably he had an emotional reunion with those he had sent there previously) after being found guilty of sexually harassing female employees.
- In 2007, George W Bush was forced to fire no fewer than 11 federal prosecutors for their pesky habit of prosecuting democrats while letting republicans run along scot free.
So, on the one had we have sexual harassment, embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and severe prejudice from politicians who have sworn to uphold the law, and on the other we have a candidate who likes to spend a little time gaming. I'm not a Maine resident, or indeed an American, but if I was I think the fact that Ms Lachowicz indulges in little WoW would be something I saw as evidence that she wasn't completely out of touch with the voters, many of who are gamers themselves.
The lady herself is clearly not too bothered by this rather absurd smear campaign, and The Daily Mail, who, remarkably, didn't jump on their usual 'gaming is evil and must be stopped' bandwagon for once, has quoted her as saying:
'I think it’s weird that I’m being targeted for playing online games. Apparently I’m in good company since there are 183 million other Americans who also enjoy online games,' she said in a statement. 'What’s next? Will I be ostracized for playing Angry Birds or Words with Friends? If so, guilty as charged!'
So there you have it - the silliest smear campaign we've seen for quite a while.
What do you think? Do you care about the private lives of your political candidates? Let us know below!